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SC Decision On Statements Of Ministers: The Supreme Court refused to ban the absurd statements of the ministers. The court said that freedom of speech cannot be curbed. The Supreme Court has given an important decision on the absurd statements of ministers and people holding high positions on criminal cases. The constitution bench of the court said that the statement of the minister cannot be called the statement of the government. He said that every citizen has the freedom of speech. It cannot be banned by going beyond the constitution. The bench said that if the statement of the minister has affected the case, then recourse can be taken to the law.
The matter started with Azam’s statementOn July 30, 2016, this case started after the statement of the then UP minister Azam Khan in the case of gang rape of mother-daughter on the highway in Bulandshahr, UP. Azam Khan had termed the allegation of the aggrieved party as a political conspiracy. Later, on the displeasure of the Supreme Court, he apologized to the victim, but the matter of banning the statements of ministers remained pending.
Last year, the matter was heard by a bench of Justices S Abdul Nazeer, BR Gavai, AS Bopanna, V Ramasubramaniam and BV Nagaratna. On Tuesday (January 3), Justice V Ramasubramaniam read out the judgment on behalf of the four judges, while Justice Nagaratna read out the judgment separately, disagreeing with the rest of the judges on some points.
‘Can’t impose additional restrictions’The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court had decided 6 questions in the case. Answered them one by one. The judges said that apart from the restrictions written in Article 19 (2) of the Constitution, no other restriction can be imposed on the freedom of speech. In case of violation of fundamental rights like Articles 19 (freedom of expression) and 21 (right to life), apart from the government, the High Court or Supreme Court can also be approached against private individuals. 4 judges have also agreed that it is the responsibility of the government to provide security to the citizens.
‘Minister’s personal statement not government’s statement’While discussing the issue of the statements of the ministers, the bench said that the statement of the minister cannot be called the statement of the government. The principle of collective responsibility of the government cannot apply to the private statement of the minister, but if the minister’s statement against a citizen has affected the trial or the administration has taken action, then recourse can be taken to the law.
‘Political parties make code of conduct’Justice Nagaratna, a member of the bench, concurred with the majority view that freedom of expression cannot be curbed beyond the Constitution, but held that private individuals cannot be sued for violation of Article 19 or 21. He requested the Parliament to make rules considering the issue of unnecessary rhetoric by the people sitting on high posts. He also said that political parties should frame a code of conduct for their members.
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